Stylish women share their approach to entertaining for the busy festive season ahead.

As the creative director of the Mexico group of eateries, Mimi Gilmour's life revolves around entertaining.

"Christmas is the time when we get to celebrate all the things I am passionate about. It's the time for our industry to shine and, therefore, it is one of my favourite times of year! I say get out there, celebrate all the good things that have come with the year and then collapse at Christmas with your family."

My party essentials for the festive season
1. Glam outfit (Miss Crabb for silk frocks and jumpsuits, Zambesi for tassels and Josh Goot for leopard!).

2. Dancing shoes (ideally a sensible low heel but probably not).


3. Hairspray and lipstick - any MAC colour as long as it's bright.

4. The right plus one (preferably gay and FABulous or just SUCH FUN!)

5. Coffee and coconut water (TAF, but whatever, it works).

Best parties

I think I am one of the luckiest girls in the world because my job is basically throwing parties every day! I adore my weekly "family" dinners, of course, but also by a mis-match of friends and mystery guests.

I would love to say we talk about solving the world's problems, and I'm sure we touch on them from time to time, but they are really a whirlwind of who's doing what, food chat, fashion chat, a few stories all mixed in with a few gins and four people cooking on top of each other!

Earlier this year I spent a week in New York with my sister. We ate and drank our way through the city and had one of those delicious meals I will never forget.

After scraping ourselves out the door after another large night in the Boom Boom Room, Pru and I walked a few blocks until we found the very inconspicuous entry to Momofuku Ko. Momofuku Ko is the first (and now one of many) restaurants owned by David Chang, an internationally recognised culinary hero.

Recognised not only for his diverse array of ventures but also for the culture he has created with it. I think this is why our meal was so special.

The restaurant seats 12 people. We ate 20 courses, served to us by chefs who were cooking with caps on and listening to Chang's latest mix on the iPod. The sommelier (yes, there was a sommelier for 12 people, and waiters) was incredibly beautiful and charmed us back to health.

I think we both had a tear in our eye when we realised it might soon be over ... and then we were given a glass of scotch.

Party playlist

It's summertime so I love summer music - lots of jazzy, tropical downtempo, for those late afternoon barbecues:

• Mayer Hawthorne - Henny and Gingerale

• Klangkarussell - Sonnentanz

• Work Drugs - License to Drive

For the nights it would be more upbeat:

• Mr Scruff - Get A Move On

• Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers (The Magician Remix). And then there's dancing and the divas.

Party tips

• Be prepared and wait until your guests have arrived before you start drinking.

• Put on a fabulous outfit you feel great in and then own it.

• Make an effort to talk to people you don't normally have the opportunity to.

• Always thank your hosts.

• There is nothing like a glass of bubbles to help you get the dishes done.

Party no-nos

Shots and short skirts ... although I recently found out that tequila is a fabulous "pick me up" but only when it is the first drink and not the last!

Decorating style

I always have fresh flowers (I adore the smell of Christmas lilies and I have been known to cut a pine branch or two for the table) and lots of candles. They really provide a sense of warmth and comfort. I am currently obsessed with the Curio Noir candle Tubereuse Noir. It smells like a dream.

Party food

I think it is best to keep it simple, light and fresh. Like we do at Mexico, I like to celebrate the flavours of the season, so in summer lots of seafood, asparagus, peas, tomatoes and berries.

If you are making party food it is always best to keep in mind that your guests will be eating on the move, so make it easy to eat and perhaps stay away from anything that won't wear well if it ends up on them.

My advice

"This is a cliche but you do only live once so get out there and use this time to celebrate with the people in your life. Laugh lots, eat delicious food (don't worry about your waistline) and dance 'til dawn! And don't forget to thank all the hospitality teams who work their butts off at this time of year to make sure we all get to have fun!"